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Cape Town Hiking

With trails running from Table Mountain to Cape Point, the Cape Town hiking experience ranges from deserted highlands to shipwreck-strewn beaches. With The Fynbos Guy as your guide, you can choose between flat rambles on wide jeep tracks to white-knuckle scrambles up little-used ravines, and we can focus on a certain aspect of the environment - botany, birds, the ocean, geology and human history - whatever you are interested in.

It starts of course with Table Mountain, lying at the heart of the city and dominating the view for miles around. It of course is Cape Town's hiking trump card but don't be fooled by Table Mountain's benign appearance: Table Mountain hiking can be wilder and more demanding than you might think. There are several straight-forward ways up but away from the most popular routes, hikers can enjoy the unique experience of wilderness hiking in an urban environment.

But it's not the only mountain around: the 'Mother City' lies at the start of 60 kilometres of a ridged peninsula, flanked by oceans on either side and mostly falling under the protection of the Table Mountain National Park. The mountains only end as the cliffs of Cape Point slide into the ocean.

Close to Table Mountain is iconic Lion's Head, providing a short, introductory Cape Town hike with great views over the city and Table Mountain. This is ideal for a two or three hour hike and it makes a good alternative when Table Mountain is clouded over.

Just 40 minutes from Cape Town, the huge Silvermine area offers excellent hiking, great views of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and some of the best displays of fynbos on the Cape Peninsula. Silvermine hikes range from flat rambles (ideal for families and the not-so-fit) to demanding hikes through forests and along cliff tops.

It gets wilder as you go further down the Peninsula - the roller-coaster Kalk Bay and Simons Town mountains provide tough but rewarding hiking but the terrain is mostly flat around the Red Hill area which is good news for people who want a Cape Town hiking experience with plenty of fynbos but without the uphill.

And then there is Cape Point. With both an Atlantic and an Indian Ocean coastline, you can expect drama and diversity when you go Cape Point hiking. The Indian Ocean side overlooks False Bay and is spectacularly mountainous. From the cliff-top paths, there's even a chance of seeing whales in season. The Atlantic coast however is dominated by long, footprint-free beaches and shipwrecks. Hiking paths criss-cross the 7700 hectare reserve - which contains more species of plant than the British Isles - and it remains the best place on the Peninsula to see big game - ostrich, eland, bontebok, baboon and mountain zebra are often spotted.

Diverse, sometimes demanding, always amazing - that's Cape Town hiking.